Many wonder if current state Attorney General Herb Slatery wants another eight-year term. He has not said.
Recently he was honored at a high-powered reception at the state museum in Nashville. It could have been a farewell event, as his term expires Aug. 31, or it could be setting the stage for a second term. That will be determined by the five-member state Supreme Court. No one is saying, but many are guessing.
When Slatery practiced law in Knoxville, he was low-profile and his political views were viewed as East Tennessee Republican; no one really knew. He always voted in the Republican primary.
Former Gov. Bill Haslam took him to the governor’s office to be his legal counsel. When the AG office opened up in 2014, he applied and with Haslam’s support won the position.
It was assumed he would follow the moderate conservative Haslam approach to government, but that has not happened. Slatery has been a strong advocate of most positions favored by former president Donald Trump — including joining the Texas lawsuit to overturn the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court took less than three days to dismiss that appeal.
It is almost as if Slatery is auditioning to be AG in a second Trump administration if such a thing were to occur.
Surprisingly, despite an overall active voting record, Slatery skipped voting in the most recent 2021 nonpartisan Knoxville city election in August and November, which the local GOP sought to make partisan. Two years earlier, Slatery had voted in both the city primary and general election when Indya Kincannon and Eddie Mannis emerged from the mayoral primary to a runoff.
Trey Hamilton, who became acting U.S. attorney March 1, 2021, after former U.S. Attorney Doug Overbey was asked to resign by the Biden Administration, has been named interim U.S. attorney by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for a 120-day period. If there is not a presidential appointed U.S. attorney in place in 120 days, then the current federal judges appoint one (it could be Hamilton) until the U.S. Senate confirms an appointment by Biden.
At the current rate of U.S. attorneys being appointed, Hamilton could be in this position for some time. The good news is that Hamilton is highly regarded, well qualified and will provide strong leadership. He has been in the East Tennessee U.S. attorney office since 2002. He earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia.
Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton is in his final week at the Howard Baker Federal Courthouse this week as he retires Jan. 30 after 18½ years of distinguished, well respected service. His successor, Jill McCook, will be sworn into office on Jan. 31 for a full eight-year term. She has been an attorney at TVA.
Guyton was chosen by the East Tennessee District judges for three eight-year terms. He is leaving his third term after 2½ of the eight years. During this whole period, he served several years as chief magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He handled all civil and criminal cases having to do with the Great Smoky Mountains Park and Cherokee National Forest.
Kim Harmon will be paid $145,020 a year as executive director of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership, which is part of the UT Institute for Public Service. She will work in Nashville.
If Travis Brasfield Jr. decides to run as a Democrat for sheriff, he will be a strong contender if only because the current GOP primary battle between Sheriff Tom Spangler and former Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones is already bitter and getting more intense. The loser will likely not support the winner.
Jan. 27: Knoxville attorney Mark Pienkowski is 35. To see also : Tri-County Council continues to see low call rates // WJFW Newswatch 12. Chief Justice John Roberts is 67.
Jan. 28: Christian Corts is 36. Retired school principal Lula Powell is 91. Sam Carey is 66. Andrew Spatz is 44.
Jan. 29: Mike Fowler is 77. Oprah Winfrey is 68. Eden Slater is 32. Sarah Penegar is 82. Bo Townsend is 66. Attorney and former Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Gordon Ball is 73. Sam Bills is 82. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is 52. Clifford Hawks is 53. Tom Boyd is 67.
Jan. 30: Knox Democratic leader and state committee member Sylvia Woods is 80. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally is 78. Attorney Harry P. Ogden is 66. Rose Gettys Hust is 76. Blake Stevens is 30. Janea Peterson of the Urban League is 33.
Jan. 31: Zane Duncan, son of former Congressman Jim Duncan, is 36. Attorney John King is 82. Jimmy Kyle Davis, former state House GOP leader and father of General Sessions Judge Judson Davis, is 68. David Martin is 71. Thomas Rasnick is 58.
Feb. 1: Reid Lederer is 53. Julie Blaylock is 43. Bo Shafer and Lynn Overholt are 85.
Feb. 2: Anthony Anderson and Jenae Anderson Easterly are 33. Commissioner Dasha Lundy is 42. Allison Lederer is 45. Councilman Tommy Smith is 41. Dunstan Kendrick and Christine Cloninger are 42.
Victor Ashe is a former Knoxville mayor and former ambassador to Poland. He is a columnist for Shopper News.